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UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki)

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki)

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Old Sep 4, 19, 2:11 pm   -   Wikipost
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This wiki was created to distill SDC (and related standby) down to a set of rules in the hopes of benefiting others.

The official "rules" can be found here. In practice, some of the rules almost always apply, and some are more flexible.

Note there have been reports of SDC to one segment removing confirmed CPU upgrades on downline segments. If maintaining the confirmed upgrade is important then these changes should be handled with care.

Most Frequently Asked Question: When do I call/go online to make the change?
Follow this flowchart:
Question 1: Are you within 24 hours of your currently scheduled UA(*) operated flight that you're trying to change off of? If yes, continue to Question 2. If no, continue to answer 1.
Question 2: Are you within 24 hours of the first UA operated flight you're trying to change on to? If yes, continue to Answer 2. If no, continue to Answer 1.
Answer 1: No, you cannot call/go online yet to make an SDC.
Answer 2: Yes, then you can call/go online to make an SDC.

General Baseline Rules

These are the general rules that usually apply to SDC's; falling outside these rules usually requires payment of a full change fee and the fare difference:
  • Not available for Basic Economy (N class) tickets
  • The departure time of the first segment of the old itinerary and the departure time of the first segment of the new itinerary must both be within 24 hours of the moment that the change is made.
  • Only applies to UA/UX operated flights, domestic or international. Changing from a non-UA operated to UA operated may be possible.
  • Must 016 UA ticket stock
  • The ultimate origin and destination airports must remain the same.
  • Routing can be changed (addition, deletion, or change of connection points) but the routing rules of the original fare usually apply.
  • All remaining unflown segments in a single fared itinerary are considered together (i.e., if you're flying WWW-XXX-YYY-ZZZ, you can go to a kiosk at XXX and potentially fly XXX-AAA-ZZZ or XXX-ZZZ direct).
  • SDC can be done an unlimited number of times, and can, therefore, be used to extend a trip indefinitely (pending availability).
  • SDC costs $75 for Members and Silvers - the fee is waived for Golds and up (plus any applicable fare difference, see below). *G's may also get free SDC, although there is no mention of this in the official rules. Once in-route, fees for an earlier connecting flight may be waived per GG SDC Line 118.
  • Non-elites on the same PNR benefit from any waived fees for SDC.
  • No fare difference is charged so long as there is availability on all of the new segments in the originally ticketed fare class. Fare class availability in all classes often opens up after T-24 and almost always opens up at T-3 unless the plane is very full.
  • SDC on bulk tickets, including United Specials, is not permitted.
  • SDC is permitted on both domestic and international itineraries.

How to SDC

SDC can be accomplished in a few different places (in rough order of likelihood of being able to get the rules bent):
  • United mobile app
  • Kiosk
  • Phone
  • On united.com, right now only the "Search Other Flight Options" button during On-Line Check-In (OLCI) works. This has spotty availability, particularly if the change would involve paying an additional fare due to fare bucket non-availability.
  • Counter/Gate (although reports are that most airport agents are not familiar with the SDC policy and may not allow you to SDC to a valid itinerary--you can try to direct them to look up GG SDC, but they often won't understand that what you're trying to do is permitted by those rules)
Please note that the United.com “change flight” link before checking in within T-24, is broken. The website may not show all available options and will often attempt to collect the change fee rather than the SDC fee (if any).


NB: An SDC where the original itinerary (in one direction) has three or more segments cannot be done online.


Nuances and Loose Rules

Now for the hard part: figuring out where the flexibility is in the rules. This list is compiled from the responses to people saying "Can I do X?" where X is something that is not clearly permitted by the rules. One's likelihood of success here depends a bit on the method used for the SDC.

For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = officially permitted and possible using any method
A = not permitted but perhaps possible using an agent (phone/counter), perhaps having to HUACA
A* = mixed reports of success with an agent (phone/counter),
N* = possible only if you find a very accommodating agent
N = little or no reported success.
  • Violating various non-routing fare rules (day/time, minimum stay, etc.): Y
  • Change destination to ultra-close airport (see the old S*FAR/STANDBY): A
  • Change destination to a co-terminal: N*
  • Change destination to an entirely different place: N
  • Change itinerary at the beginning to include illegal layovers (> 4 hours): N*
  • Change itinerary at the layover point (using kiosk, app, or agent) to create an otherwise illegal layover: Y
  • Change itinerary at the beginning to add a layover point not permitted by the routing rules: N*
  • Change itinerary at a layover point to add another layover not permitted (either in terms of number of segments or routing rules) by the routing rules: Y
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before or after the original flight: N*
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before the original flight, if the previous day's flight has been delayed: Y (based on one report)
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours after the original flight, if the original flight has been delayed: Y (at least in the app)
  • Combining separately-fared segments to do SDC (e.g. XXX-YYY+YYY-ZZZ -> XXX-ZZZ): A
  • Change UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to UA metal: A*
  • Change from UA metal to UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment: N (see post 1813 for one exception)
  • Change from UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to a different UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment: ??
  • Change on a non-UA ticketed segment: N* (with potentially dire consequences)
  • Change from an upgraded flight into Y on the new flight: Y
  • Change from a GPU-upgraded flight into J/F on the new flight: A
  • Change from a CPU-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R space on the new flight: N*
  • Change from an instrument-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R space on the new flight: A*
  • Non-elite on different PNR benefiting from Elite's waived-fee SDC: A
  • Change at origin airport after tendering a checked bag: A - 60 minutes prior to both flights required
  • Change at layover airport when a bag has been checked: A - 60 minutes prior to both flights required
  • Change a bulk fare: A*
  • Stand-By to later flight, then SDC after original flight departs to flight within 24-hours of new Stand-By flight: Y

If you encounter issues with an agent (phone or counter/gate), you can ask the agent to reference GG SDC. Additionally, GG SDC line 61 specifically references that fare classes are supposed to level out 3.5 hours before departure, so you might be able to use that to your advantage if fare classes have not leveled out and you're trying to ask an agent to open up the correct inventory or force you onto the flight.

Note -- as of 11/27/2017: A datapoint indicates that UA may have updated its GG rule regarding leveling out to state the following:

Code:
EVERYDAY AWARD AND REVENUE BUCKETS ARE TO LEVEL OUT WITHIN 2H OF DEPARTURE
Standby
For fare classes other than Basic Economy (N class) you may stand by if seats are not available in the purchased fare class. In these cases, the same-day change fee will apply, but will not be charged unless you are assigned a seat on your alternate flight. Changes in routing are not allowed when standing by. Standby may be requested on the day of departure at an airport kiosk or with a United representative at the airport. Once you are added to the flight standby list, you can check your real-time standby status at united.com/flightstatus or on your mobile device at mobile.united.com/info.

Instead of paying a same-day change discounted fee, can I stand by for my desired flight for free?
No. The only time you may standby for free is when the fare does not have any penalties for making changes, or when standing by involuntarily due to a flight irregularity.

Can I pay the same-day change discount fee with cash?
Cash will only be accepted by a United airport representative when the change is available to be confirmed, not for standby travel.

Standby Nuances and Loose Rules

All nuances assume request is made within 24 hours of scheduled departure to a flight within 24 hours of the request.

For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = officially permitted and possible using any method
K = Perhaps not officially permitted, but kiosk will allow.
A = not permitted but perhaps possible using an agent (phone/counter), perhaps having to HUACA
A* = mixed reports of success with an agent (phone/counter),
N* = possible only if you find a very accommodating agent
N = little or no reported success.
  • To a flight the previous calendar day: A*/N*
  • To a flight after your ticketed flight, on the same calendar day: Y
  • To a flight the following calendar day: N*
  • Request Standby at an airport other than departure airport: ?
  • Make request calendar day before scheduled flight to flight same day as scheduled departure: K
original posting by mgcsinc, initiated by jackal

Mileage Credit after SDC

SDC is considered a voluntary change, so your credited PQM & PQS will be credited based on the route you actually fly. Your PQDs should not change and therefore for your RDMs will not change. Occasionally if you fly a fewer number of segments, your PQD will credit wrong, but a call to MPSC should correct that.

Previous threads:
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki) {Archive}
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions *now with WikiPost* {pre-2015 Archive}
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Old Jul 16, 19, 11:27 pm
  #1231  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: LAX
Programs: UA 1P, SPG Gold
Posts: 137
Cleared two segments for tomorrow. Noticed that SDC options are only for Y on each leg offered (no directs). In my recent experience, once cleared, the SDC would only provide options where F was preserved across all segments, I can’t recall seeing any Y options once cleared but memory could be failing me. Is anyone else seeing this or this just a one off?
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Old Jul 18, 19, 5:48 am
  #1232  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Is PZ to PZ SDC dead ?

Originally Posted by laangelsfan View Post
Cleared two segments for tomorrow. Noticed that SDC options are only for Y on each leg offered (no directs). In my recent experience, once cleared, the SDC would only provide options where F was preserved across all segments, I can’t recall seeing any Y options once cleared but memory could be failing me. Is anyone else seeing this or this just a one off?
I can confirm that this was the SDC behavior for me today. I had cleared into PZ @ T-72 & when I did an SDC today it moved me back into my underlying Economy fare (L). Actually did not even notice it until I went to select my seat and saw I was in Economy. Kind of bit me in the butt since the flight I left was full in Economy and I couldn't go back

I am curious if I would have retained my CPU if there was PZ space available on my new flight? If they "fixed" the SDC option to offer your underlying economy fare, did they fix it to put you back in Economy even if PZ is available?
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Old Jul 18, 19, 9:19 am
  #1233  
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Originally Posted by FlyngSvyr View Post
If they "fixed" the SDC option to offer your underlying economy fare, did they fix it to put you back in Economy even if PZ is available?
I certainly hope so. It's frustrating that it took this long to fix it.

Of course, I imagine they probably also removed the ability to SDC into PN/PZ on other upgrade types (instruments, Y/B/M instant upgrades), where it actually made sense. But, I'd take that trade -- I can always call and SDC if I need to retain an instrument upgrade.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 11:34 pm
  #1234  
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Okay. This won't last. Was just able to SDC at check-in (on the website no less) from upgraded XN (PZ) to Y on a flight that was XN0 X0.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I certainly hope so. It's frustrating that it took this long to fix it.
Agree.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 11:39 pm
  #1235  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Okay. This won't last. Was just able to SDC at check-in (on the website no less) from upgraded XN (PZ) to Y on a flight that was XN0 X0.
IIRC, there was something about upgraded awards under the old (pre-PZ) system where it would allow you to SDC into Y. I'd rather they fixed that too, but if that's the tradeoff for fixing PZ SDCs, I'll take it.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 11:42 pm
  #1236  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I'd rather they fixed that too
I kind of like it

It doesn't raise the issues for me that PZ=>PZ does. That basically allowed wanton jumping of the upgrade queue.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 1:08 am
  #1237  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
I kind of like it
Of course you do. And if you're still in XN, then I'll like it too. But I'm guessing you're literally in Y, which means you're jumping the upgrade queue too. But it's a much smaller problem because the number of upgraded award tickets on any given day has to be pretty small.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 6:50 am
  #1238  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = officially permitted and possible using any method
A = not permitted but perhaps possible using an agent (phone/counter), perhaps having to HUACA
A* = mixed reports of success with an agent (phone/counter),
N* = possible only if you find a very accommodating agent
N = little or no reported success.
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before or after the original flight: N*
I called last night to try my SDC luck on this one, but as the agent answered the call i suddenly remember my flight had a schedule change months earlier. I was ok with the change back then, but figured I'd try leveraging it as the reason to get my requested change.
Not sure how normal it is, or if agent bent any rules. They just went ahead and did it no questions asked.

Original booked 7/20 PHX-IAD 0845-1559
After sched change 7/20 PHX-DEN-IAD 0721-1625
Rebooked last night on to 7/19 PHX-IAH-IAD 0830-1851

So not SDC success story. The moral of this one is to remember if theres been a schedule change to the flight. I was surprised to be able to use that as the reason so close in to the flight and to get a new flight just over 24hrs earlier than my original booking. but what do I know, I'm a noob at this. Gotta thank FT for giving me the wisdom to even think of this.

Did I get lucky? Or is this somewhat normal?
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Old Jul 19, 19, 7:01 am
  #1239  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Posts: 9,896
Some combination of both - it's relatively common but not standard for agents to be nice like that.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 8:11 am
  #1240  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
And if you're still in XN, then I'll like it too. But I'm guessing you're literally in Y, which means you're jumping the upgrade queue too.
Based on my position on the upgrade list, almost certainly not.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 8:50 am
  #1241  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Based on my position on the upgrade list, almost certainly not.
Ah. In that case, I withdraw my objection.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 7:32 pm
  #1242  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland CA
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This happened to me today to; something they seem to have 'fixed'.

XN fare, PZ upgrade, and I was rebooked into Y when I did a same day change in the app. I'm actually pretty pissed because they didn't put a warning in the app, so I didn't realize it until I'd done it. Not the end of the world, but annoying.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 8:06 pm
  #1243  
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Originally Posted by dordal View Post
...
XN fare, PZ upgrade, and I was rebooked into Y when I did a same day change in the app. I'm actually pretty pissed because they didn't put a warning in the app, so I didn't realize it until I'd done it. ....
Wasn't the seat selection a hint?
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Old Jul 20, 19, 12:00 am
  #1244  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Wasn't the seat selection a hint?
I don't think they offer seat selection, at least before confirmation in the default flow. I didn't expand the slider for additional info (which I think would have shown me I was going into Y), but in the latest version of the app I think they just pick a seat for you and you can change it during 'checkin' for your new flight.

The UI now has some obvious misses, seat selection aside. For example the button to actually process the change just says 'Continue', identical to the button on the screen before it. Good UI practices would dictate it says something like 'Confirm' or 'Process Change'. I think the new app team has some work to do throughout, but that's probably a topic for another thread.

As for my story, all's well that ends well -- I changed back to my original flight and got re-upgraded at the gate. And the flight I changed into ended up getting delayed, so we took off at the same time and are now racing each other across the country. Unfortunately they have a faster plane (777), so they're winning.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 9:22 am
  #1245  
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Originally Posted by dordal View Post
XN fare, PZ upgrade, and I was rebooked into Y when I did a same day change in the app. I'm actually pretty pissed because they didn't put a warning in the app, so I didn't realize it until I'd done it.
I made the change on the website and it was very clear I was rebooking into economy.
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